New Holiday Rental Platform for the Travel Trade- IAVRA Challenges Industry Norms with Innovative Website for Agents

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Search, Select, and Rent Villas with Confidence Using Business-to-Business Network from the International Association of Villa Rental Agents (IAVRA).

villa rental, marketing villas, travel trade, travel professionals

International Association of Villa Rental Agents (IAVRA)

As travel professionals ourselves, we were well-acquainted with the problems involved with renting villas and we knew there had to be a more efficient way of doing business.

Though the market for luxury travel has remained strong despite the global economic downturn, the villa rental industry would greatly benefit from an overhaul. Currently, finding property to rent short-term can be an arduous task for customers and travel agents alike as it is necessary to sort through a multitude of villa rental websites before finding a suitable holiday rental property. Finding a quality villa specialist can be difficult as many of the best companies only represent a small selection of exclusive listings of houses for rent. Information about availabilities, amenities, and location is often not readily available, requiring a time-consuming inquiry process with agents that may not even have direct contact with the owner of the property.

Nonetheless, villa holidays remain a popular choice. The International Luxury Travel Market Trend Report shows that today's travellers crave deeply personal, bespoke experiences which go beyond typical planned vacations. Villas and chalets provide the answer to this desire by providing the discerning traveller with privacy, intimacy, and luxury that can be tailored to each individual holiday, even for those on a budget. Catered villas and chalets surpass the amenities of hotels with personal staff available to satisfy every desire, while self-catered vacation rentals allow for a more hands-on approach.

The International Association of Villa Rental Agents has launched a new business-to-business website for travel professionals. It is a closed platform for subscribers only, and revolutionises the holiday rental industry by directly connecting client agents and villa agents on a global level, expanding the potential client base of both and increasing the number of inquiries. It serves as a marketing tool for both travel agents and villa agents, providing travel agents with access to an expanded portfolio of villas and holiday homes to rent, while giving villa agents increased exposure for their holiday rental properties. Created by business professionals with backgrounds in marketing, banking, and travel, the concept of IAVRA was born out of frustration with the lack of transparency and efficiency in the villa rental industry. According to partner Sybil Napolitano, “As travel professionals ourselves, we were well-acquainted with the problems with renting villas and we knew there had to be a more efficient way of doing business.”

As the demand for private, customised holidays increases, so does the potential risk of falling victim to a villa rental scam. Hundreds of holidaymakers have lost thousands of pounds to villa fraud after booking villas which either did not exist or had their details unscrupulously copied from a legitimate website. According to Thisismoney.co.uk and The Daily Mail, “The problem for travellers is that most holiday booking websites are essentially just listing pages for adverts. They are not travel agents and so have no legal obligation to refund money if you are the victim of a fraud.” IAVRA provides a greater measure of reliability by carefully vetting villa agents before allowing them to list their properties on the site and requiring a Certificate of Appointment to ensure direct contact with the owner. Customers can feel more secure about their holiday rentals by using travel agents and villa agents who are IAVRA members.

Large websites which offer direct listings by owner provide less security and verified information as they eliminate the travel agent from the picture. Travel agents play a vital part in the villa rental process by guaranteeing quality and reliability. In the United States alone, travel agencies make up a multi-billion dollar industry which accounts for the majority of all travel sold, according to ASTA. ASTA CEO Tony Gonchar noted, “The travel industry remains a business very much built on personal relationships.” The ILTM Trend Report highlighted the need for greater cooperation and more partnerships (particularly online) within the travel industry, citing “Partnership marketing,” “Personalised services,” and “The development of digital experience” as trends. IAVRA fosters those connections by using the latest in travel technology, providing a reliable platform for client agents and villa agents to network and do business.

IAVRA is well on the way to becoming the one of the largest travel agent dedicated online databases of holiday properties (including city apartments, chalets, villas, and even private islands) with over 2,100 properties in 40 countries. The closed database is only accessible to subscribers, and premium features help travel agents save time, which include professionally branded brochures, a guaranteed 10% commission for client agents, comparison tools, and an advanced search function to quickly search, select, and rent properties with confidence. Philip Butler of Argophilia Travel News reviewed the site, commenting, “This new subscriber based database and tool set is a near perfect B2B conduit between travel agents etc. and villa rental agents across the globe. The service not only makes searching, selecting, and renting villas efficient, but a bit of an aesthetically charged user experience on both ends of the exchange.”

Winter destinations are in high demand at the moment, ranging from winter sun getaways in Mexico, South Africa, and Mauritius to snowy chalet holidays in France and Switzerland. IAVRA’s listings include properties in all of these destinations, as well as the best of summer accommodation all over the world. With over 40 villa agents already signed up to the site, IAVRA’s biggest collections are in France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, South Africa, and Spain, though more properties and locations are added every day. Condé Nast Traveller is constantly on the lookout for the best in international accommodation, compiling select lists of the world’s top villas which include 7 of the properties listed on IAVRA, a testament to the high standards of the property companies which are subscribers.

Finding the perfect villa can be difficult, as searching can be an overwhelming task and there is no guarantee of quality when it comes to the company or the property. IAVRA utilizes technology to make life easy for travel agents and villa agents, allowing them to network internationally on a trusted platform. Though the vacation rental sector is currently plagued by a lack of reliability and consistency, IAVRA provides a significant step forward for agents seeking an improvement. Ready for a change?

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John-Christian Moquette
IAVRA
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